Homily for the seventh Sunday of Easter - Year B - Jn. 17:11-19


by

Father Daniel Meynen
 
 

"Holy Father, keep them in thy name, which thou hast given me, that they may be one, even as we are one. While I was with them, I kept them in thy name, which thou hast given me; I have guarded them, and none of them is lost but the son of perdition, that the scripture might be fulfilled. But now I am coming to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves. I have given them thy word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I do not pray that thou shouldst take them out of the world, but that thou shouldst keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; thy word is truth. As thou didst send me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be consecrated in truth."





Homily:


"Holy Father, keep them in thy name, which thou hast given me, that they may be one, even as we are one. While I was with them, I kept them in thy name, which thou hast given me; I have guarded them, and none of them is lost but the son of perdition, that the scripture might be fulfilled. But now I am coming to thee."


On this seventh Sunday of Easter, the Church contemplates the Lord Jesus seated in Heaven at the right hand of the Father. In certain countries, one celebrates the feast of the Ascension of the Lord today, and in others, this feast was celebrated last Thursday. In any case, our minds are turned towards Heaven, where the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit live in a communion of Love.


Jesus is in Heaven! The Father is united forever to his Son become Man! In the Holy Spirit, the Father and the Son live this filial relation which produces the happiness, not only of the entire Trinity, but also of all the creation which Jesus restored in his own body. From now on, all the men and women who are united to Christ can take part in the joy and happiness of very God: in union with the Savior of men, all the elect now enjoy having God for their Father.


Jesus is in Heaven! He lives with his Father, not only as God (for all eternity), but also as Man: since the day of his Ascension into Heaven, Jesus is loved by his Father who looks at his Son, his perfect Image, both divine and human. In a vision of Love, the Father contemplates his Son become Man, he unceasingly sees the soul and the body his Word assumed during his sojourn on earth. And in this vision of Love, the union which has always existed between the Father and the Son never ceases to pour out upon all the creatures who make up, with the Son, one Mystical Body: the Church. "Holy Father, ... that they may be one, even as we are one."


"These things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves. I have given them thy word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I do not pray that thou shouldst take them out of the world, but that thou shouldst keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world."


Jesus came down from Heaven to bring the Good News of Salvation to us. This Good News is Jesus himself: the Word of God, that Word which the Father conceives and begets in himself for all eternity. Jesus gave himself to us and to all those who want to receive him: he gave us everything that he is as the Son of the Father - that is, he gave us the Word of the Father who is in Heaven. "I have given them thy word." This Word is what produces all the happiness and joy of the Father, this Word is what produces all the joy of those who welcome him with a pure and sincere heart: "These things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves."


But it is a Word which comes from Heaven, and not from the earth. And those who welcome this Word become themselves "words" in the unique Word, they become adoptive sons of the Father in the unique Word begotten by the Father in the Spirit of Love. Those who are united to Christ the incarnate Word are no longer of the earth, but rather of Heaven: united with the Son, they form but a single Body that the Father contemplates in Heaven in loving his only Son. The Father, who is in Heaven, draws to himself all those who, on earth, are united to his Son by faith, hope and charity. The Father, who is in Heaven, draws to himself the whole of the Mystical Body of his beloved Son, to the point that this Body is no longer on earth but in heaven: "They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world."


If Jesus is in Heaven from now on, seated at the right hand of God, nevertheless his disciples remain on earth. Of this great Mystical Body, of which Jesus forms a part, only the Head is with the Father. The totality of the Mystical Body of Christ will not be raised up to Heaven, body and soul, until the end of time, at the glorious return of the Lord Jesus. Until then, the disciples of Christ remain on earth, in the world, and it is only in a certain manner, in an initial way, that they are already in Heaven, under the gaze and the contemplation of the Father. Since the Head of the Body, that is, the first of the children of God, is already in Heaven, body and soul, each and every one of those who believe in Christ have one foot placed in the heavenly residence, firmly hoping to place the other foot there at the end of their life on earth. Strengthened by this support, and this hope, the disciples of Jesus Christ can resist every attack of the evil spirit: "I do not pray that thou shouldst take them out of the world, but that thou shouldst keep them from the evil one."


"Sanctify them in the truth; thy word is truth. As thou didst send me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be consecrated in truth."


Jesus is in Heaven: he fulfilled the Mission the Father had entrusted to him. Now his disciples also have a Mission to fulfill. These are not two different missions. There is only one Mission, because there is one Body of Christ. "As thou didst send me into the world, so I have sent them into the world." What the Head has accomplished, the members must also do. If Jesus testified to the truth, his disciples must do the same. "Sanctify them in the truth; thy word is truth... And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be consecrated in truth."


This consecration was for Jesus the opportunity to testify to his Father to all the Love that he bore for him, by allowing himself to be condemned and crucified for having testified to the truth. For us too, we who believe in Christ the Son of God, this consecration can go so far as to reach the supreme trial of martyrdom, and above all as far as the trial of the renouncement of oneself and one's own will. For anyone who loves the Father and is truly his son never refuses to do the Will of God who is all Love.


May the Most Blessed Virgin Mary, who is now also in Heaven, body and soul, be our model of fidelity in carrying out, day after day, in even the simplest of actions, the holy will of God!